Letter to the Editor

Clearing the air

Many arguments I've heard against the smoking ban concern individual rights or warn against more "government intervention." What government intervention? We're putting it to a vote. Let the people decide. What about the common good? Heaven forbid we risk any negative, short-term economic effect, which is debatable, to help ensure a healthier environment for all.

I'm a reformed smoker, having quit the nasty habit some 20 years ago. I've now not smoked for about as long as I did, hopefully repairing some of the damage to my heart and lungs. Many of us remember flying in the day when as soon as the "No Smoking" light went off half the passengers would light up. Can you imagine? "Glamorous" movie stars promoted their brand in slick magazine ads, many of whom later died of throat cancer. Besides health concerns, I quit because it was becoming less and less socially acceptable, and for good reason.

Yes, times have changed -- and for the better where smoking is concerned. Come on folks, this is 2011. Health risks from smoking and secondhand smoke are well documented. Let's keep the pressure on business owners to do the right thing by making their establishments smoke-free. The more responsible ones already have. If there are fewer places to smoke, perhaps more people will decide it's not worth it and quit. And that, my friends, would be a good thing!

Vote yes for a smoke-free Cape Girardeau on April 5.

JEFF JERNIGAN, Cape Girardeau